4th Grade - Evaluate The Media

Evaluate the media
Evaluate the role of the media in focusing attention on events and in forming opinions on issues.
The ability to evaluate, or judge, the function and role of the media in society. Furthermore, the ability to distinguish different points of view and facts in order to formulate opinions.

Sample Problems


What is journalism? (the field of journalists, or writers that gather and report news for media)


What is media? (newspapers, magazines, television, radio, etc.)


What are opinions? (points of view, perspectives, beliefs, the way people think and feel about something, etc.)


What are issues? (subject, matter, concern, problem, concept, etc.)


How do you evaluate? (you weight or judge, formulate an opinion, based on the information you have about the issues at hand)

Learning Tips


Watch a favorite news anchor report. What points do they emphasize? What words do they stress more than others? Why? If you were to see an article about the same topic in the newspaper, would those same words be bolded or underlined? Compare the different medias if possible!


Discuss the importance of multiple perspectives with your child in many different contexts, especially when searching for veracity, or truth. Even news reports, which are supposed to report factual information free from bias and prejudice, are affected by people’s opinions and points of view. Watch part of the news together and detect the opinions – usually they are pretty obvious, but sometimes subtle!


Write your own editorial column! Choose a current event article that you can use as inspiration to be a journalist and write your own article. Highlight the facts and underline the opinions in the article. Ultimately, you will only use the facts (and just think about the author’s opinions) to write your own article with your opinion on the presented topic. Possible topics: election 2008, Beijing Olympics, back to school, a sport event or game, etc.


Watch or listen to the news. Take notes on how they convey information. What parts do the reporters/ anchors emphasize, exaggerate, or blow up? What parts do they say quickly or skip over? When the story is finished, do you understand the main idea enough to be able to form your own opinion?


Sensationalism is a tactic used by some journalists or types of media to get the attention of readers. They sometimes “bend the truth” to make a story more interesting. Other times, they completely make things up. On your next trip to the grocery store, look at the words and pictures on the front of magazines. How many off those stories do you think are 100% true? Here’s something that is real, and should be sensational, but you won’t see it on the news! http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sharks/

Extra Help Problems


Is media attention always positive or negative? (no – it can be both – e.g. when a good deed is done v. when paparazzi invade privacy)


What are the paparazzi? (scandal-seeking photographers hoping to get sensational stories)


What is the opposite, or an antonym, of a fact? (opinion)


What is the opposite, or an antonym, of an opinion? (fact)


What are synonyms for an opinion? (perspective, belief, point of view, etc.)


What are synonyms for a fact? (truth, reality, actuality, information, evidence)


What are synonyms for a detail? (point, feature, element, aspect, specificity)


What does objective mean? (unbiased, neutral, unprejudiced)


What is the opposite of objective? (subjective)


Why are newspapers expected to report facts? (news is supposed to be based on proven, researched information and knowledge but it doesn’t always work that way)


Are there opinions in newspapers? (yes, even in the news sections – sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious)


If someone is quoted in an article, does that automatically make it an opinion? (no – the person could be sharing a fact)


What is sensationalism? (use of shocking material for effects, especially used by the media)


What is media? (communication sources – television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and people involved with their production)


What are many, varied sources you can use to find information? (books, radio, newspaper, television, magazines, newspapers, etc.)


Why is it important to gather information from many, varied resources? (to cross-reference, or compare and contrast, the information given to determine what is true and valid)


What does the colloquial phrase “the media spun the story” mean? (how the media delivered the story)


What is optimism? (positivism)


What is pessimism? (negativity)


Can sensationalist words and phrases be used to skew audiences’ opinions? (yes)


Can delivery of information skew audiences’ opinions? (yes)



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